FAQs – About Israel
Do I need a visa to travel to Israel?
Americans, Canadians and citizens of most Western countries simply require a passport to come to Israel: no visa is required. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date you enter the country. For more information and a list of countries that do not need a visa, click here.
Is it safe to travel to Israel?
Israel is an extremely safe country to visit and tour. In 2012, close to four million tourists came to Israel, an all-time record, and all of them went back home again safe and sound. We would not encourage tourists to come if we felt they would be in the slightest danger.
Are tourists allowed to enter areas outside of the Israeli responsibility (Palestinian areas)?
Crossing from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is direct, easy and no prior authorization is required. Hundreds of tourists make the crossing in both directions every day. As always, it’s wise to check on the political situation before entering the Palestinian Authority. Please note to take your passport with you, you’ll need to present it to re-enter Israeli-controlled territory. It’s recommended to double check your car rental insurance before your visit. If your visit in the Palestinian Authority isn’t covered you might prefer to hire a driver or visit with a tour group. For more information about visiting areas outside the Israeli responsibility please contact the IDF Public Relations office.
Do I need to receive any special vaccination before my trip to Israel?
Not at all. Israel is an entirely western country with an advanced level of hygiene, health care, diagnosis and medicine that is the envy of much of the world and on a par with the best of North America and Western Europe.
Can you drink tap water in Israel?
Absolutely: tap water in Israel is safe and delicious. But, you will also find bottled mineral water everywhere. (It’s important to make sure you drink a lot, especially if you are walking, hiking or exercising during hot weather.)
TRAVELING TO AND FROM ISRAEL
Can I combine visits to Jordan with my visit to Israel?
Absolutely, many visitors to Israel take a day tour to Petra in Jordan. You can fly between Tel Aviv and Amman, or travel overland through a number of border crossings. (You should check with the Jordan tourist offices if you need to obtain a visa before you leave home.)
Can I choose not to have an Israel stamp in my passport in case I travel to some countries that don’t recognize Israel?
Sure. Israel no longer stamps tourists’ passports. Records are now kept electronically.
Which airlines fly to Israel?
More than 80 airlines operate flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport (known simply as Tel Aviv or TLV). Five airlines operate as many as ten flights a day nonstop from North America to Tel Aviv (Air Canada, Delta,, United, US Airways)
El Al, operates many direct flights from the United States, Europe, the Far East, and Africa. Other Israeli airlines such as Arkia and Israir operate flights from central locations in Europe. There are no direct flights to Israel from distant locations such as Australia or South Africa, or from countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. It is therefore a good idea to reserve a connecting flight from these places, or to arrive in Europe and then purchase a ticket to Israel.
What are the transportation options from the airport?
Most visitors arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) 20-minutes from the heart of Tel Aviv, 35 minutes from Jerusalem. If you’re arriving without prior land arrangements, there are cabs at the airport, bus services – and trains are available from the airport station (take the airport elevator to the lowest level) to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Haifa.
How do I get around?
Israel has a sophisticated system of highways, buses, trains and domestic flights. Follow these links to know more.
- Buses – The most popular form of transportation in Israel, you can buy tickets at any city’s central bus station or from the driver. Please note that most buses don’t operate in Israel on Saturdays (Shabbat) For schedules and fares of buses in Israel, please visit: Egged website.
- Train – The Israel Railways is an affordable easy way to travel between major cities in Israel. Please note that the trains don’t operate in Israel on Saturdays (Shabbat) For train schedules and fares, please visit the Israel Railways website.
- Private Taxi – a more expensive option, taxis can be flagged down or ordered by phone almost anywhere, and they’ll take you around town or between cities.
- Rent a car – International car rental chains have offices in Israel, and there are multiple Israel-based car rental companies. you can rent a car in all of Israel’s major cities and at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. It’s recommended to reserve a car before you arrive. Driving in Israel is on the right-hand side of the road , and most signage is written in Hebrew, English and Arabic. Don’t use a hand-held phone while driving: it’s against the law.
What are the distances between major cities?
- Tel Aviv to Jerusalem 37 miles, 50 minutes
- Tel Aviv to Tiberias/Galilee 81 miles, 100 minutes
- Tel Aviv to Masada 63 miles, 90 minutes
- Tel Aviv to Haifa 90 miles, 70 minutes
- Jerusalem to Tiberias 109 miles, 120 minutes
- Jerusalem to Masada 56 miles, 90 minutes
Will I need an adapter for my appliances in Israel?
The electric current in Israel is 220 volts, C, single phase, 50 Hertz, the same as in Europe. Most Israeli sockets are three-pronged but most accept European two-pronged plugs. If your appliance does not work on 220 volts, you will need an adaptor. Your hotels should have adapters available. Most hotel bathrooms have hair-dryers as well as low-wattage American-style sockets for electric shavers in which you can usually charge your cell-phone or tablet.
Will I have easy internet access?
Most hotels in Israel have Wi-Fi available for hotel guests at customary prices. Many cafes and restaurants offer a complementary Wi-Fi service. Since September 2013, Tel Aviv offers a citywide free Wi-Fi network which provides 80 free Internet “hot spots” across the city.
Will I be able to use my cell phone in Israel?
If you have an international plan, your cell phone may work in Israel, please check with your local provider.
Can I rent a cellular phone in Israel?
Certainly. You can rent a phone when you arrive at any time during your visit.
What is the country code to dial to Israel?
What is the weather like in Israel, when is the best time to visit?
Israel is a year round destination.Israel enjoys long, warm, dry summers and generally mild winters with somewhat drier, cooler weather in hilly regions, such as Jerusalem and Safed. Temperatures can vary widely so just pack for the "right" weather and you'll be fine. For more specific information, click here
What kind of clothing should I pack?
In Summer, lightweight T-shirts, sleeveless shirts, shorts, and a bathing suit are recommended. Pack a sweater or a jacket for nights in the mountains or the desert. In winter, bring long sleeve shirts, sweaters and a scarf, gloves, a warm coat, and a raincoat and an umbrella. Some religious sites require long pants for men and clothing that covers the shoulders and knees for women.
MONEY AND CURRENCY
What is the currency in Israel?
The Shekel; you’ll find it abbreviated as NIS (New Israeli Shekel). Exchange rates of the Shekel to all foreign currencies as well as other information can be found here.
What credit cards are accepted?
You can use your ATM card to obtain Shekels at ATM’s throughout Israel. You can also use American Express, MasterCard and Visa cards at most Israeli hotels, restaurants and stores.
What taxes can I expect to pay in Israel?
The Vat (Value Added Tax) in Israel is 18%. It’s already included in most prices in Israel. VAT is waived for tourists at hotels, tour companies and car rental agencies. Like in Europe and elsewhere, tourists can receive a refund of the VAT they paid on purchases when departing the country, the refund program and the purchase amount in one tax invoice including V.A.T. must exceed ILS. 400.
Is everything closed on Shabbat in Israel?
Shabbat (the Sabbath) is the Jewish holy day of the week observed every Saturday. Shabbat starts at sunset on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday evening.
All public offices are closed on Shabbat, as are banks, most stores and businesses; throughout Israel there is a growing number of shops open on Shabbat.
In most cities, public transportation (trains and buses) do not operate on Shabbat.
Most non-kosher restaurants are open on Shabbat. It is recommended to check in advance if you are planning on visiting a specific location. Radio and TV broadcasts operate as usual.